Home Page Link Thaxted - under the present flightpath and threatened with quadrupled activity Takeley's 12th century parish church, close to proposed second runway Harcamlow Way, Bamber's Green - much of the long distance path and village would disappear under Runway 2 Clavering - typical of the Uttlesford villages threatened by urbanisation
Campaigning against proposals to expand Stansted Airport

image SSE NEWS ARCHIVE - April to June 2014

TUI TRAVEL REPORTS CARBON SAVINGS
AND HAS 10M TARGET IN SIGHT

Ian Taylor - Travelweekly Online - 23 June 2014

Tui Travel has reported a sharp reduction in the carbon emissions of its airline fleet and an increase in cost savings across the group in the second year of a three-year 'Sustainable Holidays Plan'.

Europe's biggest leisure travel company reported a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions from its aircraft fleet since 2008 and a £28 million saving in 'environmental efficiencies' since 2012.

The figures were published this morning in the company's Sustainable Holidays Report 2013. The group reported 3.8 million of its customers stayed at sustainability certified hotels last year, up from two million in 2012 and taking it more than half-way to its target of 10 million over three years by the end of 2014.

Tui Travel group director of sustainable development Jane Ashton said: "The measures we have implemented are starting to bear fruit, creating substantial cost savings and a measurable reduction in CO2 emissions. It is fantastic to see such progress, but there is a long way to go. We must continue to raise awareness of the issues of sustainability in the industry."

Ashton told Travel Weekly: "Every year we continue to drive more savings and we are getting smarter at tracking the savings. Looking at the business operations through an environmental lens makes good sense."

About 50% of Thomson Holidays customers stayed at sustainability certified hotels in the last year. Ashton described the target of 10 million over three years as "a real challenge", but said: "There is a lot of work is going on and a huge amount of effort." She said: "The more we do, the stronger the business case [becomes] and the more we have been able to do."

However, she added: "We are very big but we are just one player. The more we can engage the rest of the industry, destinations and governments, the better. We urge all industry players to identify and promote hotels certified to robust sustainable tourism certifications such as Travelife or other recognised schemes which address environmental, employment, community and cultural aspects of sustainability."

OUR COMMENT: A very good achievement BUT what about the emissions from the aircraft? Choice of aircraft? And, could some destinations be reached just as easily by Rail?

Pat Dale


AIRPORT COMMISSION HEAD VISITS 'FLIGHT PATH' SCHOOLS

chiswickw4 Online - 19 June 2014

The effect of aircraft noise on school children and the human impact of Heathrow made an impression on the Airports Commission during its visit to Hounslow this week. The fact-finding mission, organised by the local authority, showed the Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies and Commissioner Sir John Armitt, the social, economic and environmental effects of Heathrow on the area.

Speaking after the borough-wide tour, which included a visit to Beavers Community Primary School and a local airline food supplier, Alpha LSG, Sir Howard said: "I think the issue of noise mitigation for schools is clearly something we should be dealing with. But we need to be careful about a blanket solution and would need to be flexible."

The Commission team were joined by Hounslow Councillors Ruth Cadbury and Colin Ellar, and local MPs Mary Macleod and Seema Malhotra. Councillor Amrit Mann, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, said: "Hounslow wants a better not bigger airport. Losing Heathrow would devastate Hounslow's economy. Jobs matter but so do our residents' quality of life and children's education."

Their visit started early at 6am to hear some of the early morning flights, recorded at 91 decibels - the World Health Organisation suggests that "serious annoyance" is experienced by most people at noise levels above 55 decibels.

The headteacher of Beavers Primary School, Dee Scott, pupils and parents spoke of the extreme difficulties they face in their classrooms, particularly during the warmer weather over the summer. Mary Macleod MP, said: "I am glad the Airports Commission has taken the time to come and experience the reality of living near Heathrow. Our proximity to the airport helps keep our unemployment down and we welcome the opportunities it offers. But Heathrow are not doing enough to reduce the impact of noise, congestion and pollution from the airport."

"I was alarmed to hear that children were struggling to stay awake in classes because of the lack of sleep at home and a lack of ventilation and oxygen in their classrooms. Heathrow promised over ten years ago to address the issue of noise insulation and ventilation in our local schools and they still haven't delivered. This problem will only get worse as we look to expand our schools to accommodate a growing population. Heathrow must deliver on its promises and must do more to protect our children from noise in their schools."

The visit to Hounslow also included a question and answer session involving the Commission, councillors from Ealing, Wandsworth, Slough and Hammersmith and Fulham and also Richmond Park MP, Zac Goldsmith. Labour Candidate, Ruth Cadbury commented: "I was pleased that we were able to show the Commission members first-hand what living and learning under the landing path means to local people and to children's learning. Whilst the airport provides massive economic benefit to Hounslow, a third runway would mean 50,000 more residents suffering severe noise problems. Heathrow should provide a better deal on insulation and other mitigation to the communities already affected, but another runway is a step too far" she said.


ESSEX: AIR TRAFFIC FROM STANSTED OVER NORTH ESSEX
COULD DOUBLE UNDER NEW PROPOSALS

NATS proposes to switch planes departing from
Stansted Airport from southern to eastern route

Matthew Symington - Eadt Online - 16 June 2014

More than 50 additional planes could fly over north-east Essex a day as part of a shake-up of air traffic management. National Air Traffic Services, the main air traffic management company in the UK, is proposing to double the number of planes flying along the 'Clacton' route from Stansted Airport. Consultation on the plans, which would see planes flying directly east from Stansted Airport, begins today.

Currently the majority of daytime flights from Stansted fly south on what's known as the 'Dover' route. However as a result of air traffic congestion generated by Heathrow airport, planes from Stansted often have to keep below 7,000 feet until they reach the Thames Estuary or even Kent. The proposed switch to the 'Clacton' route would allow the planes to climb continuously, reducing CO2 emissions and overall noise.

A map of the proposed routes shows planes flying north of Witham and reaching 7,000 feet roughly over Kelvedon, higher than 7,000 feet the noise from planes is not considered to be a nuisance. At least 52 extra planes a day would fly this way.

Martin Peachey, noise adviser with Stop Stansted Expansion, said: "As always in these situations there are going to be winners and losers. Those living under the 'Dover' route should see the benefit of having no planes whereas those living under the 'Clacton' route will see an intensification."

Braintree District Councillor for Witham North, Philip Barlow, said: "What does it means for people on the ground? If it's a substantial increase then I think we would have our concerns but if it can be demonstrated that it's not that big then I don't think that either as a council or council member we would necessarily be against it. Our position in the past is generally supportive of Stansted's expansion, it's been gradual, we haven't had huge increases over a short period of time. Stansted have worked with us."

Paul Haskins, general manager of London Terminal Control, NATS, said: "At the moment, departures from Stansted heading towards the south east are kept lower for longer when compared to the route heading east because of Heathrow arrivals. Moving the majority of departure flights from one route to another will improve the flow of aircraft around the London system and greatly increase the efficiency of the airport?s operation."

"Air traffic is increasing and modern aircraft are far more efficient nowadays so we need to modernise the airspace to match aircraft capability. This proposed change, together with those being consulted on at other London airports, is vital if we are to enable the success of the UK's FAS."

Stansted Airport welcomed the consultation. Visit www.nats.aero/lampstansted to have your say on the proposals.


GUEST COLUMN: IS YOUR TRIP NECESSARY?

While travel can be vital for business,
it should be used both sparingly and wisely

Tom Newcombe - Buyinbusiness Travel Online - 16 June 2014

The tussling over which UK airport to expand is a distraction from whether or not Sir Howard Davies' Airports Commission is actually asking the right questions. What would show greater imagination and ambition would be for the commission to recognise that, in the 21st century, businesses will eventually decouple travel from growth.

Travel can be a vital component for most businesses, but it's not an end in itself. Productivity and output are the true measures of success, so these need to be central to decisions - not only for the Davies Commission but also for decision-makers inside organisations choosing when and how to travel.

The Chancellor's announcement in the recent Budget to reduce long-haul Air Passenger Duty (APD) is based on the assumption that businesses both want, and need, to fly. Those who regularly travel on business know that the excitement of jet-setting can soon wear off and actually interfere with, rather than aid, productivity.

The One in Five Challenge is a scheme, led by WWF and taken over by Global Action Plan (GAP) in January, to encourage companies to commit to cutting 20% of their business flights within five years. Evidence from businesses taking part in this scheme demonstrates that business growth and increased travel do not go hand-in-hand. Reducing the number of flights taken by employees can benefit businesses looking to limit their environmental impact, cut costs, increase productivity and help their bottom line.

Over the last four years of the One in Five programme, 13 participants have achieved their targets, including BT, Lloyds TSB and Vodafone UK. In the third year of the programme, each company involved had reduced their flights by an average of 38 per cent, leading to average yearly savings of £2 million and 3,000 tonnes of CO2.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, two of the successful One in Five Challengers are telecommunications companies. They understand how to maximise the use of state-of-the-art technology to replace travel where appropriate, making their businesses more efficient and productive.

BT was the first to complete the challenge. Using audio, video and web-conferencing as a key solution to reduce the need to travel, BT reported an increase in productivity and an improved work life balance for employees. Vodafone UK cut flights by 26 per cent in a single year by ensuring that employees can communicate with each other through video-conferencing, instant messaging and web collaboration software.

A key factor in reducing flights is changing organisational culture. For example, air travel is often considered prestigious - the more important you are the more the company will spend on your travel - but successful One in Five Challengers have turned this conventional 'truth' on its head, by instilling an understanding that the more valuable your time, the less you should spend on a plane or sitting in traffic.

GAP's recent rail report, Changing Gear: Taking Business Travel into the 21st Century, emphasises the importance of business understanding the full costs of travel choices. Compare a journey from London to Glasgow, including transfers and connections, in terms of productivity - end-to-end, the journey may take 30 per cent longer by train rather than plane.

However, on the train, the worker can spend the majority of the journey with access to a phone signal and wifi, with approximately 90 per cent productivity. The same journey by aeroplane requires the passenger to turn off all connectivity on devices during the flight, so the journey end-to-end is only 50 per cent productive. Accounting for productivity, the train may be more cost- and time-effective.

We should welcome growing signs of a shift in business travel behaviour and encourage businesses to look at the most effective way to conduct business. The Davies Commission should reframe their focus and consider overall productivity, rather than assume that travel is necessary for growth.


'TOO MANY AIRCRAFT CHASING TOO FEW PASSENGERS',
WARNS MONARCH BOSS

Ian Taylor - Travelweekly Online - 29 May 2014

The new head of Monarch Airlines has echoed company chairman Iain Rawlinson in warning of "too many aircraft, chasing too few customers".

Monarch Airlines managing director Andrew Swaffield said yesterday: "It is a soft market with lots of capacity. There are too many aircraft chasing too few customers in Europe. It is a very commoditised market." But he insisted: "Monarch is holding its own. We are performing well in a poor market. We're maintaining our share and, in many cases, growing."

Swaffield joined Monarch at the start of April after almost eight years as head of the British Airways/IAG loyalty scheme Avios. His comments echo those of Monarch chairman Iain Rawlinson in February when he told an Institute of Travel and Tourism dinner: "We have a weak market... Aviation is suffering weak yields and overcapacity and is fiercely competitive... We are the lowest margin region in the world."

Monarch is still in talks to buy new aircraft, but Swaffield declined to confirm how many. Rawlinson revealed last October that the carrier was negotiating to buy up to 60 aircraft and had to make a choice between manufacturers Boeing, Airbus or Bombardier.

Swaffield told Travel Weekly: "The discussions are ongoing. It's an important decision and we're taking great care. We are talking with Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier but we are not fixed on a number [of aircraft]." He said an announcement is likely this summer.

Swaffield worked at BA for two decades and prior to that spent 10 years at Thomas Cook. He said: "I've been a travel agent and a tour operator and now run an airline, and it is all about customers. A customer focus is as relevant in a travel agency as in a tour operator or airline, and the quality of people is critical."

Swaffield was speaking as Monarch Airlines announced it had been awarded the status of a WorldHost Recognised Business following the customer-service training of 1,690 staff.


DOMESTIC AIR LINKS DECLINING, SAYS AIRPORTS COMMISSION

Publicsectortravel Online - 9 June 2014

The Airports Commission believes that the number of UK domestic destinations served from Heathrow may fall to four by 2040 unless capacity is expanded. It says the number of non-London airports with at least weekly routes to Heathrow was 19 in 1990 and is down to eight now.

The fall is part of a wider reduction in capacity between London and the regions, the Commission says. It says the decline is due to a number of factors: "capacity constraints and their resultant pricing mechanisms disincentivising domestic traffic; an overall drop in demand for domestic services, which can be attributed to the recession, improved rail (and possibly coach) links, more rigorous security regimes and higher rates of taxation; and competition from foreign hub airports reducing the proportion of domestic passengers seeking to transfer at London airports".

The analysis forms part of a new consultation paper by the Airports Commission looking at the use of the UK's existing aviation capacity, specifically that provided by airports other than Gatwick and Heathrow.

Launching the publication in Scotland, Sir Howard Davies, chair of the Airports Commission said: "Regional airports and those in London and the south east other than Gatwick and Heathrow remain critical to the Commission's analysis; it is clear that in the future these airports will play a crucial national role, especially at a time when the major London airports are operating very close to capacity. The publication further examines connectivity trends at these airports, how the business models of these airports are developing and whether the connectivity provided by these airports can be enhanced."

The consultation closes at 5pm on 25 July and comments can be emailed to airport.utilisation@airports.gsi.gov.uk


AIRLINES SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED
TO USE REGIONAL AIRPORTS

Travelmole Online - 14 June 2014

Birmingham airport chief has called for the Government to change tax rules to encourage airlines to use spare airport capacity in the regions.

Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham airport told MPS, Lords and business leaders that space at regional airports should be utilised rather than travellers having to travel through the 'congested South East'. He said in Birmingham's case, the airport is just 70 minutes from London and, with its newly extended runway, it can cater for long haul routes to China and the US West Coast.

Kehoe said: "With air traffic set to double over the next fifty years, the Airports Commission is rightly looking at expanding UK airport capacity, but we also need to see Government action to make better use of the airports and runways we have already."

"This means changes to tax rules to encourage airlines to use regional airports for long haul routes, and a concerted government-led marketing push around the world to let growing markets and foreign airlines know Britain's city regions and our airports are open for business."

On July 22nd, Birmingham Airport will become the country's first airport outside London to host a flight to and from China.


AIRPORTS COMMISSION RELEASES CONSULTATION PAPER
ON ROLE OF REGIONAL AIRPORTS

Phil Davies - Travelweekly Online - 9 June 2014

The government's Airports Commission today released a consultation paper - 'Utilising the UK's Existing Airport Capacity' - as part of its investigation into potential new runways in the southeast of England.

The consultation is focusing on the role that regional airports will play in the future against the backdrop of the current options focused on Heathrow, Gatwick and the Thames estuary. "The Commission wishes to understand the long-term strategic context within which the eventual expansion option is likely to sit, and any recommendations it could usefully make to shape this context," it says in the introduction. Responses are due by July 25.

The document says: "The outcome of the Commission's process will be a recommendation to government to increase capacity at Gatwick, Heathrow or an inner [Thames] estuary site. The Commission has begun to analyse the strategic case for each of these possibilities (and the differences between the two Heathrow schemes). This will involve reviewing economic impacts, impacts on passenger demand, airline behaviour and possible developments in the aviation industry. It is too early in the Commission's process to draw any conclusions about what this would mean for the other airports serving London and the southeast but in either scenario, airports and the airlines that fly from them will need to react to changes in the commercial environment, while continuing to manage the constraints on their operation."

The consultation paper says: "Under any of the proposals additional capacity will not be delivered at Heathrow or Gatwick until the 2020s. Even once this additional capacity has come on stream the demand for aviation in London and the southeast cannot be met by growth at Heathrow or Gatwick alone. The other airports serving London and the southeast will continue to need to provide capacity to meet this demand."

Flybe, welcoming the consultation, said it understood how vital connectivity is for the UK's economy with 80% of the UK's GDP generated from outside of the M25. The regional airline's chief executive Saad Hammad said: "The paper released today by the Airports Commission is extremely welcome. This important consultation demonstrates how vital regional connectivity is to the airline industry as a whole. We pride ourselves on being the UK's largest regional airline and offer routes from 35 airports across the UK. Our regional bases connect nearly eight million passengers each year. We look forward to engaging with the Airports Commission on this issue."

The Airports Commission also appeared to rule out the possibility of changes to double Air Passenger Duty charges on domestic flights.

The consultation paper says: "The case has been put to the Commission that it may be possible to end the current practice of incurring an APD charge on each flight of a domestic return trip - the so-called 'double whammy'. However, the Commission understands that in 1998 the EC ruled that the practice of charging APD on only one leg of a domestic return journey, which was the UK practice at the time, was in contravention of the EU treaty, because it did not provide the same effective tax treatment for all EU flights. The Commission is not minded to question this judgement, unless representations can be made to the contrary by respondents."


STANSTED AIRPORT RECORDS 7.6% INCREASE
IN PASSENGER NUMBERS

Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 9 June 2014

STANSTED has recorded another month of growth in passenger numbers.

Nearly 1.82m fliers passed through the terminal in May, up 7.6% on the same month last year. The number of passengers using the airport in the year ending May 31 grew to 18.29m, an increase of 3.3% over the previous 12 months.

Andrew Harrison, Stansted's managing director, said: "The increased number of passengers using Stansted during May is very encouraging, continues the growth trend we've experienced at the airport over the last year and reflects the strong confidence of our airline partners as they add more key routes and increase frequency."

"Our £80m terminal transformation project continues to make good progress with the first phase of our retail redevelopment in the departure lounge soon to open. We are now entering the peak summer period and expect to be even busier in the coming months as we welcome even more passengers taking advantage of Stansted?s extensive route network."

Air transport movements - the number of aircraft - handled by Stansted increased by 4.6%, up from 12,268 in May last year to 12,832 last month. Year on year there was a 1.5% rise from 131,897 to 133,908. However, cargo tonnage dropped, down 10.2% in May compared with the same month in 2013. The moving annual total decreased by 7%.


ASA RULES STANSTED PARKING PROMO IS MISLEADING

Phil Davies - Travelweekly Online - 21 May 2014

Stansted has been ordered to make future discount offers clearer by the advertising watchdog as it upheld a complaint over an airport parking promotion.

The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that an email claiming car parking prices were 53% cheaper than last year should not appear again. It upheld a compliant that the ad promoting eight-day parking for £39.99 was misleading.

Manchester Airports Group-owned Stansted argued in its defence that the terms and conditions on the ad made clear that the percentage savings were based on an eight-day stay at its long stay car park. The airport said the comparative savings were based on an eight-day stay in March 2014, compared to the same car park, duration and month in 2013.

But the ASA said the headline claim would be understood by those receiving the email as an "absolute statement" that all parking at Stansted in 2014 was 53% cheaper than in 2013. Text which appeared below saying 'Take advantage of an 8-day stay in Long Stay for only £39.99' would be understood as an illustrative example.

"We therefore considered that the small print contradicted rather than qualified the absolute headline claim and therefore concluded that the ad was misleading," the ASA ruled.


NATS PARTNERS DRIVE AIRLINE FUEL SAVINGS

Aimee Turner - Aircraftmanagement Online - 26 May 2014

The Flight Efficiency Partnership, a group made up of UK air traffic control NATS, airlines and flight planning providers, enabled 19,000 tonnes of fuel savings during the last financial year.

Set up by NATS, the group meets regularly to identify practical ways of improving flight efficiency and cutting fuel costs. Last year it established changes to route restrictions and raised standing agreements allowing airlines to accurately flight plan in line with real world procedures. As a result, aircraft are now able to fuel for the routes they actually fly, as opposed to the legacy routes and levels that are no longer current.

Andy Shand, NATS general manager of customers affairs, said: "Working with our customers to improve the efficiency of our airspace means they can flight plan more accurately, therefore needing less fuel to begin with and then burning less fuel in-flight. The 19,000 tonnes of fuel we saved last year is beyond our 18,000 tonne target and that is testament to the effectiveness of the partnership and the excellent relationship we have with our customers."

NATS has a strategic aim to reduce air traffic related emissions by on average 10% per flight by 2020 from a 2006 baseline. Since then it has cumulatively enabled over 400,000 tonnes of fuel savings, worth over £270m to the airlines.

Andy Shand added: "Combining our 3Di airspace inefficiency modelling capability and the SPACE airspace simulation centre gives NATS the ability to respond to requests for change and deliver tangible saving for our customers."


NEW NOISE REPORT FROM CAA 'DISAPPOINTING'

Noise climate round airport not improved in last 15 years

Brentfordw8 Online - 29 May 2014

A new report, Managing Aviation Noise, published today by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on best ways of tacking aircraft noise has been branded 'disappointing' by HACAN, which campaigns on behalf of residents under the Heathrow flight paths.

HACAN Chair John Stewart said: "Although the report is packed with useful ideas on how to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on residents, it is on the whole a disappointing report as it says very little about how the number of planes flying over communities can be cut which is the big issue for local residents."

Stewart added: "We do welcome, though, a clear recognition in the report that there has been very little improvement in the noise climate around airports since 2000. This reflects the experience of residents and challenges those in the aviation industry who like to give the impression that things are getting steadily quieter."

The report's key recommendations for the aviation industry include:

* Airports and airlines should ensure that operational approaches to mitigate noise are incentivised and adopted wherever feasible. The CAA will work with industry to consider, trial and promote novel operational approaches to noise minimisation.
* When looking to expand, airports should do more to ensure local residents see benefits from additional capacity - whether through funding community schemes, direct payments, or tax breaks.
* Airports seeking expansion should significantly increase spending on noise. mitigation schemes to get closer to international competitors - including full insulation for those most affected.
* Airlines should focus on noise performance when purchasing new aircraft.
* Airports should structure their landing charges to incentivise airlines to operate cleaner, quieter flights.

In addition, the document proposes creating a new Airport Community Engagement Forum bringing together local residents, the aviation industry, policy makers and planners focussed on how new capacity can developed and operated to minimise noise impacts and maximise community benefits, rather than whether it should be built.

The report also floats the idea of a noise tax being imposed on airlines with the money raised used to provide compensation and possible tax breaks for residents.

Stewart concluded: "Most of these proposals are a step forward but, unless a way is found to cut the number of planes flying over communities, the central problem is not being addressed."


NOISE TAX FOR AIRLINES PROPOSED

Noise tax for airlines could encourage use of quieter aircraft,
Civil Aviation Authority report claims

Nick Collins, Transport Correspondent - Daily Telegraph - 29 May 2014

A new "noise tax" could be levied on airlines to encourage them to adopt the quietest possible aircraft and compensate those living under flight paths, under Civil Aviation Authority proposals. The air regulator said the tax would penalise flights based on how much noise pollution they cause, while proceeds could be used to pay for insulation for communities near airports.

Although the move is considered a "last resort" if other schemes do not succeed in encouraging the aviation industry to tackle aircraft noise, the CAA said it could be based on a system successfully imposed at French airports. The Tax on Air Transport Noise, introduced in France in 2005, varies depending on the number of people affected by noise from the airport, the weight of the aircraft at take-off, the plane's noise rating and the time of day.

In order to influence airlines the tax could be set in the region of £34 for a 737-400 aircraft arriving at Heathrow Airport, the CAA suggested, meaning it would be unlikely to significantly affect ticket prices, but it could risk affecting the viability of some routes.

In its Managing Aviation Noise report, published on Thursday, the CAA proposed a host of measures aimed at reducing noise from aircraft taking off and landing at airports in the UK and compensating those living nearby. Airlines should aim to reduce noise pollution by purchasing the quietest planes and making minor adjustments to wing flaps and landing trajectories, the report said.

Gatwick and Heathrow airports, both of which are hoping to construct an extra runway, were warned that spending "significantly above" current levels on noise mitigation is likely to be a "prerequisite" for the expansion of any airport. It recommended that airports structure landing charges to reward airlines for operating cleaner, quieter flights, adding that residents could be compensated for noise pollution with tax breaks.

The report continued: "A per passenger noise tax would not have to be high to have a significant impact on route profitability and potential viability. Such measures should therefore represent a last resort. If other measures do not go far enough to engage the aviation industry in the effort to manage noise, policymakers could consider a further incentive applied with the introduction of a noise tax."

Iain Osborne, CAA group regulatory policy director, said: "Very many people in the UK are already affected by aviation noise and it's clear that unless the industry tackles this issue more effectively, it won't be able to grow. The recommendations we're making will help the industry to reduce and mitigate its noise impact, whilst also making sure the communities affected by aircraft noise are fairly compensated and feel much more involved in the way their airport operates."

The publication comes as the Whitehall-appointed Airports Commission considers where airport expansion should take place. John Stewart, the chairman of Heathrow residents' group Hacan, said: "Although the CAA report is packed with useful ideas on how to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on residents, it is on the whole a disappointing report as it says very little about how the number of planes flying over communities can be cut which is the big issue for local residents."


BUSINESS, JOBS, TRAVEL AND TOURISM FAIR AT
STANSTED AIRPORT'S DIAMOND HANGER OFF TO A FLIER

Paul Winspear - Harlow Star - 11 June 2014

ORGANISERS of a first-time event in Stansted Airport's exclusive Diamond Hangar are so pleased with how it took off that they already have next year's in the diary.

The business, careers, travel and tourism fair, called Check-in@Stansted, was organised by the airport's chamber of commerce and marketing agency the Sowerby Group. It was opened by Sir Alan Haselhurst, MP for Saffron Walden, and Stansted Airport MD Andrew Harrison. It was geared towards members of the public as well as giving companies, charities, colleges and other organisations an opportunity to network and do business.

More than 300 visitors - including people who used to work at the airport, job seekers and students - made their way around the 36 exhibitors' stalls, including those of the sponsors: Stansted owner Manchester Airport Group, Uttlesford District Council, the Radisson Blu hotel and the Observer. There were seminars by representatives of rival budget airlines Ryanair and easyJet, tourism body Visit Essex and business support agencies UK Trade & Investment East and the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium.

Outside, visitors admired the contrast between a vintage coach from Lodge's Coaches and shiny red and black sports cars from the Porsche Centre in Colchester.

The event supported the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust, which raised £283 on the day, while the Ickworth Hotel in Suffolk raised £100 for East Anglia Children's Hospices with a lucky dip.

Co-organiser Julie Budden, from Stansted Airport Chamber of Commerce, said: "Many individuals and exhibitors were saying what a fantastic event it was. They commented on the Diamond Hangar tours and said how positive the event was as it was specific to an industry heavily involved in the area. Exhibitors have already shown interest for next year, which is on June 18, and we were asked whether we could run two events each year!"

Sir Alan said: "I congratulate the chamber of commerce for mounting the event. I was pleased to meet a diverse and interesting cross-section of stallholders and I hope that a great deal of good business was done."


UK PURSUES FIVE AIRLINES OVER ETS COMPLIANCE

ENDS Europe DAILY - 11 June 2014

The UK is pursuing five cases of suspected non-compliance with the EU emissions trading system (ETS) by commercial airlines in 2012.

Airlines are required to both report their emissions and surrender allowances to cover them. The UK authorities suspect that five airlines failed to meet the latter requirement while four did not comply with the reporting requirement.

The airlines have been warned that they face penalties, an official told ENDS. Under the ETS rules, airlines are liable for fines of ?100 per tonne of CO2 for non-compliance.

The UK is likely to take action against more airlines over suspected non-compliance for 2012 emissions, the official added. The UK was instructed by the European Commission to initially follow up suspected non-compliance by airlines with total emissions of over 1,000 tonnes of CO2 on flights to and from the EU, ENDS understands.

But under the 'stop the clock' airlines are only liable for their emissions from intra-EU flights.

The UK will not disclose the exact extent of the five airlines' emissions, or what country or countries they are from in case this would have a negative effect on the International Civil Aviation Organization talks on tackling airline emissions.

Under the UK's transposition of the EU law implementing elements of the Aarhus Convention, environmental information does not have to be disclosed if it "would adversely affect international relations".

Disclosing the names of the suspected non-compliant airlines would harm the UK's relations with "other states and international institutions in relation to negotiations concerning this global market based mechanism to control aviation emissions", the official said. Their names will only be published if penalties are imposed.


ANCIENT WOODLAND WARNING OVER
SECOND GATWICK RUNWAY PROPOSAL

Theargusnews Online - 29 May 2014

A proposed second runway at Gatwick would destroy ancient woodland, a campaign group has warned.

The Woodland Trust has issued the warning ahead of a decision on the plans. They claim all three proposals put out for consultation by Gatwick bosses would destroy up to 19 acres or woodland.

Campaigner Katharine Rist said the plans would "obliterate" the areas of woodland surrounding the airport. She said: "It's crucial the impact on ancient woodland is given appropriate weighting in any consultation on expansion and we would urge everyone to respond on this basis."

"At the moment, these new plans only serve as yet another example of why ancient woodland needs better protection from national infrastructure."

A 12-week consultation on Gatwick's proposals will finish on 15 August.


AIRPLANE TRAFFIC MAY BE MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR
TO DANGEROUS AIR POLLUTION

Airport Watch - Science World Report - May 2014

Los Angeles is known for its air pollution and now, scientists may have found part of the problem. They've discovered that airplane traffic could potentially be a major contributor to pollution in Los Angeles. Not only that, but the effects of this pollution can continue up to 10 miles away from the airport.

Past research has measured pollution from air traffic. But most of these studies only sampled air within a couple of miles of the airports that were studied. Not surprisingly, these analyses have found higher levels of pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, and small particles less than .1 micron, which were attributed to airplane emissions.

Ultrafine particles are a major public health issue. They form from condensation of hot exhaust vapors and can deposit deeply into the lungs and even enter the bloodstream. This, in turn, can actually play a role in the development of atherosclerosis (blocked arteries) and can make other health conditions, such as asthma, worse.

In order to learn a little bit more about this air pollution, the researchers studied LAX, the sixth busiest airport in the world. Over a period of 29 days, they drove the area within 10 miles downwind of the airport in order to measure levels of air pollutants.

So what did they find? It turns out that over a 23-square-mile area, particle number concentrations were double that of background levels. Over 9 square miles, levels were five times higher than background. Within just 2 miles of the airport, particle number levels were a whopping 10 times higher than background levels.

The scientists didn't stop there, though. They also made sure to include the pollution created from automobiles. In the end, the scientists found that automobiles contributed less than 5 percent of the particle number concentration levels. This meant that LAX was one of the most important sources of this type of pollution in Los Angeles.

The findings reveal that airports can be a significant source of pollution.


HEATHROW AND GATWICK UNVEIL REVISED EXPANSION PLANS

BBC News - 13 May 2014

Heathrow and Gatwick airports have both unveiled revised expansion plans in an attempt to secure permission to build the UK's next runway.

Heathrow has proposed improved compensation worth £550m for those affected by its plans for a third runway. Gatwick has said its plans will keep fares low and create 120,000 jobs.

Both have submitted their plans to the Airports Commission, charged with deciding how to expand UK air capacity. The government-appointed body will choose between a second runway for Gatwick and either a third runway for Heathrow, or extending the northern runway to the west. However, it will not make its recommendation until 2015 after the general election.

'Fair' treatment
Heathrow has promised that the owners of 750 homes, which would need to be demolished to make room for a third runway, would be offered 25% above the market value of their properties. Other residents would receive improved noise insulation, it said in its report for the Airports Commission. "We are committed to treating those most affected by a third runway fairly. Since the previous runway plan was rejected in 2010 we have listened to ideas for how we could improve our proposals," said Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews.

The revised report also suggests a congestion charge for those dropping off passengers at the airport by car. The airport plans to consult local people on its revised proposals this summer.

Gatwick identified three options for a second runway, but the Davies Commission shortlisted Option 3, which would allow fully independent operation.

Gatwick case
In its report, Gatwick argued that its expansion plans would cost £7.8bn and were cheaper and more beneficial than Heathrow's. It said 10 million more passengers each year would be able to travel with a second runway at Gatwick than with a third runway at Heathrow. The airport also calculated that a new runway at Gatwick could be delivered about five years earlier than a third runway at Heathrow.

It added that its location, south of London, meant that just 14,000 people would be affected by noise, compared with the 240,000 people affected at Heathrow. "Why would you choose to fly a quarter of a million more planes every year over one of the world's most densely populated cities when instead you can fly them mostly over fields?," said Gatwick's chief executive Stewart Wingate.

Heathrow Hub
Heathrow Hub, the group proposing an extension of Heathrow's existing runways to add capacity, also submitted a revised proposal to the Airports Commission. It argued its plans would mean a potential end to night quota flights and would create up to £45bn of economic benefits for the UK and 19,000 jobs. Jock Lowe, one of the promoters behind the Heathrow hub concept, said: "Our proposal is the most efficient, cost effective and politically realistic of the three proposals shortlisted by the Airports Commission."


HEATHROW AIRPORT THIRD RUNWAY:
M25 WOULD BE 16 LANES WIDE UNDER NEW PLAN

Matthew Beard, Transport Editor - Evening Standard - 13 May 2014

Heathrow bosses today unveiled plans to convert the M25 into a 16-lane motorway to make way for a third runway. The widened 2.5-mile stretch off junctions 14-15 of the M25 would include the hard shoulders. Construction would take up to four years with the opening date set for 2021.

The development was revealed in Heathrow's final plan submitted to the Government's aviation commission. If built, the runway would be slightly further south, to avoid having to dig up the M25/M4 junction. A 600-metre tunnel would be built under the M25. Under the plans, vehicles dropping off passengers at Heathrow could also face a congestion charge, once transport improvements around the airport are finished. Heathrow chief John Holland-Kaye refused to say how much such a charge would be but it is thought the toll would have to be £30 to deter motorists.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "It will be the better off who will find it most affordable. It must not be introduced until public transport is improved or else it risks becoming another tax on the mobility of the least wealthy. Ultimately though this is a private matter between Heathrow and its customers."

The airport's owners said building a third runway at Heathrow would deliver a £100 billion boost to the UK economy and create 100,000 new jobs. Insisting that the nation needed an airport hub, they claimed it would connect to more emerging markets and be the best option for economic growth.

Heathrow said some 40 new destinations would be served by a third runway, including San José in California, Wuhan in China and Calcutta. Cargo volumes would double, boosting competitiveness, they added.

Heathrow also revealed that 200 homes in Harmondsworth - out of 950 previously earmarked for demolition - would be saved by relocating the runway. The Grade 1-listed Great Barn at Harmondsworth and Grade 2-listed St Mary's Church would be spared.

For those whose homes face demolition, the airport is proposing compensation of 25 per cent above the properties' unblighted market value, plus stamp duty costs and legal fees in relation to buying a new home. Someone owning a £250,000 property would receive £312,500 compensation, plus £7,500 stamp duty costs and legal fees.

But John Stewart, chairman of anti-Heathrow expansion group Hacan, said: "It's still going to be several thousand people being forced out and a longstanding community being destroyed. The Airports Commission won't make their recommendation until next year and the decision will be taken by the next government. People in Harmondsworth feel there will be another 18 months of blight on their properties."

Heathrow said the third runway, to the north-west of the airport, would be operational by 2025 and cost £15.6 billion to build, with the Government paying £1.2 billion towards the M25 tunnel and motorway widening. Although Heathrow is Europe's noisiest airport, its bosses claimed the number of people living under the flightpath would be cut by 30 per cent by 2030, and 12,000 fewer locals will suffer the worst noise, as a result of the third runway's realignment. Today's revised plan comes after Heathrow airport consulted 140,000 residents and business.

Government aviation supremo Sir Howard Davies shortlisted Heathrow's proposal in December. Also on the list is an extended northern runway at Heathrow, designed by former Concorde pilot Jock Lowe, and a second runway at Gatwick. The mayor's preferred Estuary airport solution is expected to be formally rejected in September.

Holland-Kaye, Development Director and Chief Executive Designate of Heathrow, said: "Expansion at Heathrow matters to the whole country. Only Heathrow will connect all of the UK to fast growing international markets. The plans we are submitting to the Airports Commission demonstrate major economic benefits from a third runway for the whole of the UK. Expansion at Heathrow has national and local support."

"We have worked closely with local residents, listened to their concerns and improved our plans. Our submission reduces the number of properties that would need to be purchased and the number of people affected by significant noise. We would establish a fund to enhance local amenities and compensate residents more generously than previous UK infrastructure projects."

Heathrow would set aside £550m to purchase local homes or for sound insulation in what the airport says is the most generous compensation scheme for any UK infrastructure project.

Sir Howard Davies has said a new runway must be built in the southeast by 2030 with another to be added by 2050 to cope with demand. He will make his recommendation to ministers after next May's election. The Davies commission was formed after chancellor George Osborne resurrected the prospect of Heathrow expansion. But party leaders have refused to be drawn on a preference, saying they will be guided by Sir Howard's findings.

Gatwick insists that the hub model is not in the best interest of passengers. Its says it can deliver lower fares and connect to emerging markets with longer range aircraft. A second runway at Gatwick would be easier to deliver as it would affect fewer local residents, it said. The Sussex airport said today it could deliver £40bn more to the economy than heathrow in economic boost.

Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick said: "As we reach this critical point in the aviation debate it is clear that the Airports Commission has a very real choice to make: expand Gatwick and create genuine competition in the market with lower fares for everyone, or move back to a London airport market dominated by a single player and saddle the next generation with higher air fares."

"Why would you choose to fly a quarter of a million more planes every year over one of the world's most densely populated cities when instead you can fly them mostly over fields? Why tunnel part of the busiest motorway in Europe - the M25 - causing serious traffic disruption, when you can build on land already set aside for expansion? The choice is an obvious one. Expand the best and only deliverable option - Gatwick - and create a market that serves everyone."


AIR POLLUTION NEEDS TO BE CUT

Heathrow Chief admits M4 would need
to be diesel-free if 3rd Runway went ahead

Brentfordtwd Online - 22 April 2014

Heathrow Airport's outgoing chief executive Colin Matthews has admitted that the M4 would need to be diesel-free if a 3rd runway was ever built at the airport. Matthews told the aviation specialists Flightglobal, that "to fix air quality at Heathrow [you need to] replace the fleet of diesel engines coming down the M4 [motorway]". It is the first time that a senior Heathrow official has been so frank about the air pollution problems the airport is facing.

The European Union has made clear that its air pollution legal limits set in 2010 must be complied with by 2020 or member states face hefty fines. In the UK, Central London and Heathrow are the two big areas of concern. There are pockets around Heathrow which remain stubbornly above the legal limits. The problem is caused by both the aircraft and the heavy traffic on the nearby roads and motorways.

John Stewart, chair of the campaign group HACAN, which opposes expansion of the airport, said, "We commend Colin Matthews on his honesty but it simply act of faith for the airport to believe that air pollution limits will be within the legal limits by 2026, the date a 3rd runway would be expected to open, as the new runway would mean an extra 240,000 flights a year."

The Airports Commission, set up by the Government, is currently assessing the case for a 3rd runway at Heathrow and a second Gatwick runway. It will report in summer 2015.


GATWICK CHAIRMAN: HEATHROW IS 'POLITICALLY TOXIC'

Sir Roy McNulty, chairman of Gatwick Airport, argues a second runway at
the West Sussex airport will deliver more benefits than expanding Heathrow

Sir Roy McNulty - The Telegraph - 12 May 2014

This week Gatwick and Heathrow will submit their final proposals to the Airports Commission which will make recommendations on where the next runway should be built after the general election. There is a very clear choice. Expansion at Gatwick, allowing London's airport system as a whole to work effectively with choice and competition for everyone. Or the creation of a powerful monopoly at Heathrow that will stifle competition and mean even higher fares for passengers.

Aviation is changing fast. It is obviously important that any decision reflects the market trends of the future rather than the patterns of the past. Twenty years ago, few people predicted that low-cost, short-haul flights would be leading the industry, but they are. Today, it is easyJet that is the largest UK airline. Ten years ago the Government's Aviation White Paper had virtually no mention of Dubai, which has in a matter of years become a dominant market. And now, we are seeing a new disruption to the old aviation system through the rise of long-haul, low-cost flights. Norwegian has already announced it will start low cost services to New York from Gatwick this summer.

The next generation of "hub-buster" aircraft - the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 - is changing the face of long-haul travel, making it cheaper and easier to travel direct long-distance. And it is the airline market itself that is shaping this new future. There are five times more hub-busters on order than Airbus A380 Super Jumbos.

The low cost airlines rely on affordable airport charges and efficient airport infrastructure. Heathrow is currently the most expensive airport in the world and is not equipped to meet the fast aircraft turnaround times required for the low-cost business model. In contrast Gatwick is the only airport that can cater for all airline business models, with affordable charges and facilities that enable fast and efficient aircraft turnaround times.

No-one can say with certainty exactly what the future looks like. This puts a premium on ensuring that London's aviation capacity remains as flexible as possible to meet demand. The advance of these long-haul, low-cost flights is challenging the premise that concentrating activity at one hub - where people transfer and then fly on to long-haul destinations - is the solution. The number of transfer passengers is, if anything, very likely to decline rather than increase.

Expansion at Gatwick can also optimise how London's airport system works as a whole and allow Heathrow to play its role better, with connections to emerging markets. With low-cost airlines offering long-haul routes as well, traffic would inevitably move out of Heathrow to Gatwick.

There would no longer need to be 23 flights every day, for example, from Heathrow to New York as more flights would fly direct from Gatwick. That would then leave open some capacity at Heathrow to develop new routes in tandem with Gatwick. As a result there would be all the benefits for passengers and growth for UK plc with little of the environmental damage and virtually none of the massive delivery risk that expansion at Heathrow would bring.

Competition between airports from the breakup of the old BAA monopoly has been one of the great successes of recent industrial policy. It has driven up standards and driven down prices. Allied to ever increasing airline choice, passengers are reaping the benefits of lower fares. We could choose to turn the clock back on all this and create a restrictive monopoly or alternatively build on what has been achieved and have even more competition.

There are significant benefits to the UK economy which will result from the more vigorous competition between airports and airlines, if there is a new runway at Gatwick which competes with Heathrow. The economic potential at Gatwick is larger and there are further benefits arising from Gatwick's case including lower air fares, lower airport charges, and because a new runway will be operational sooner. Independent consultants have quantified the benefits from choosing Gatwick over Heathrow at around £40 billion over the next 60 years.

In contrast to the Heathrow case, this can be delivered at no cost or risk to the taxpayer. There is business support for Heathrow and for Gatwick. What unites all business is the need for certainty. This is an issue that has been considered many times in the past. Each time Heathrow has been chosen it has faced a political roadblock.

The reasons for that are very simple but worth restating. Heathrow is in the wrong place for expansion which makes it politically toxic. In the modern age it has not been considered acceptable to have another 270,000 flights a year over a central London flight path - with all the resulting noise and environmental impact - at a time when, today, noise at Heathrow is greater than all European airports combined. It would also mean building across the M25, with all the disruption and delivery risk that would inevitably entail.

Gatwick however can deliver the economic benefits the country needs at an environmental cost it can afford. Perhaps most importantly of all given the history of the past, the prospects for delivering a new runway at Gatwick are much stronger. Before this process expansion at Gatwick was ruled out under pre-existing agreements. It is now being considered properly for the first time. If chosen, work could start on its safe guarded site in the next Parliament and the runway could be operational by 2025. It can be built at less than half the price of a third runway at Heathrow at no cost to the taxpayer and with minimal disruption.

We can debate the future, but the challenges of today in the end demand that the UK just gets on with it. Gatwick is already the largest single-runway airport in the world, enabling passengers to fly to over 200 domestic & worldwide destinations - more than any other UK airport - cheaply and efficiently. Heathrow's chief executive recently described Gatwick or Heathrow as a 'false choice'. He is wrong.

There is a very real choice between two visions - competition vs monopoly, future-proofing London airport system vs building a model based on the past, developing a safeguarded site vs building a runway across the M25 in the busiest section of Europe's busiest motorway. Gatwick is the progressive solution and the obvious choice for the future.


GATWICK SECOND RUNWAY: AS CONSULTATION ENDS,
RESIDENTS ASK "ARE WE PREPARED?"

Jo Gilbert - East Grinstead Courier - 16 May 2014

TIME is running out to respond to Gatwick's second runway consultation plan.

The consultation ends on Friday, but residents in East Grinstead and Dormansland say there needs to be more planning to sort out the infrastructure needed to cope with a possible second runway at the airport.

At a meeting at Gatwick's Arora hotel on April 29, concerned residents talked about the impact an estimated 17,500 additional personnel (and the 7,500 houses needed to house them) would have on surrounding towns and villages. And concerns were expressed about the lack of a solid plan to deal with the increased strain on traffic, transport, housing, schools and medical facilities which will heavily impact on all areas of West Sussex.

Simon Streatfield, 85, of Ship Street, East Grinstead, is among those who expressed concern. He explained: "What we are looking at is an enormous expansion. Politicians always say we need more growth, but the environmentalists would say growth is the problem. We are a small island and the South East is more crammed than a lot of other places. We can't keep expanding at this rate."

Parish and district councillor Chris D'Avray, who attended the meeting, added: "We've got 15 million train passengers coming from London to Gatwick every year, and with the second runway this will double to 30 million. But when we asked Gatwick's representatives who is going to help the trains cope they answered, Network Rail. And when we asked them who would expand the M25 they just said 'that's the government's job'. It's a sham. It was a glossy presentation but there has been no depth to the consultation whatsoever."

Robert Brooke, 74, who said he bears the brunt of Gatwick noise pollution in Ford Manor Road, Dormansland, added: "That is a complete cop-out to say start making plans afterwards. In fact, it's pathetic. Surely whether or not Gatwick wins the contract depends on whether the local infrastructure can cope? The roads between Copthorne and Gatwick are already jam-packed and there's no plan to extend the roads."

But Ken Harwood, Tandridge's representative for the GATCOM advisory body, believes it is too early to be making long-term plans. He said: "As a district, Tandridge doesn't have a view because it's too far up the road to speculate. Until the government decides when and where this expansion is going to happen there is no point making plans. When Heathrow got its second runway, they built the Terminal 5 junction to deal with the demand."

"Trying to come up with a plan now is like throwing paint against a blank canvas and trying to paint a picture. People are acting like it's Armageddon but there's no guarantee that the second runway will even go ahead."

Management at Gatwick Airport were contacted for comment but had not responded as the Courier went to press.


GOVERNMENT PUBLISHES NEW GUIDELINES
FOR AIRPORT CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEES

Aef Online - 17 April 2014

The Department for Transport has published a new set of guidelines for airport consultative committees which replace the previous guidelines introduced in 2003. We provided a detailed response to the DfT's draft guidelines and we appreciate that some of our suggestions were taken on board. Particularly, we are pleased that a section on consultative committees dealing with complaints was re-introduced to the new guidelines. DfT commented that there was no appetite for removing statutory requirements for airports to consult but neither did they suggest that the designated list be extended to all airports and airfields.

The guidelines did not take up our recommendation to introduce a form of dispute resolution forum to give community groups and individuals some right of appeal should they find they are unfairly excluded from a consultative committee. The new guidance says that disputes should be handled by the committee in the first instance, and that "in the majority of instances a solution should be found at the local level". However, it does also say that for designated airports, it is ultimately in their best interests that committees are functioning effectively, suggesting that they should be proactive in trying to resolve disputes. This is an improvement that puts the onus on airport operators to be constructive.

Our comments on the draft guidelines are relevant to the new guidance. Below are several key changes:

1) Principles
We supported the inclusion of principles for airport consultative committees that can be applied to all committees regardless of the size of the airfield or airport. Their continued inclusion means that there is no truth to claims of some airports that they are too small for the guidelines to apply.

The new guidelines did make an addition from the draft version based on one of our recommendations and added 'effective' to the constructive principle meaning that airport operators should approach consultative committees with a genuine willingness "to be influenced by the discussions and opinions of the committee in order to make the process of consultation meaningful." The guidance also says that airports are expected to take the committee's views into account in decisions. We welcome this addition as it reminds airports of the purpose of consultative committees.

The new guidance also asks airports to be clear about when a decision has already taken place that the committee cannot influence, and for committee secretariat to be clear when presenting views of the committee if a significant minority opinion exists. We recommended both.

2) Code of conduct
We supported this proposal based on the experiences that had been passed on to us where personalities had prevented effective and constructive discussion. Our response to the draft guidance recommended that the code of conduct should explicitly also apply to airport operators, committee chair and secretary. The new guidance has included this suggestion.

3) Complaints
In our response to the draft guidelines, we highlighted that consultative committees should include monitoring complaints in their remit to ensure some accountability of airports to local stakeholders. The new guidance has included this recommendation.


STANSTED AIRPORT BEGINS LONG HAUL FLIGHTS

Dave Lewis - Rhinocarhire News Online - 2 May 2014

The slow progress on a decision over providing London's extra airport capacity for the next few decades added another twist yesterday as one of the outsiders for the honour announced its first ever long haul flights.

Stansted Airport has traditionally been a short haul airport and the base of Ryanair. It took over the mantle of London's third airport from Luton some while back but had been considered by many to be too far from the capital to be a contender and capable of only handling short haul flights.

Changing the picture, Thomas Cook Airlines has announced the introduction of eight new routes from the airport this summer including three longhaul destinations; Las Vegas, Cancun and Orlando.

Long haul flights from smaller airports have become far easier to introduce in recent years with the developments in aircraft technology. Lighter planes with more efficient engines mean that longer runways for the traditional long haul planes like the Boeing 747 are unneccessary. All of the eight new flights will be operated by the bigger Airbus A330.

Initially Thomas Cook will offer a twice weekly flight to Orlando and fly once a week to Las Vegas and Cancun. The flights will operate for the busy school holiday period only for now until Thomas Cook can gauge the success of the project but it means greater choice for travellers as well as seeming to trial a credible alternative to expanding Gatwick or Heathrow as a way of increasing capacity for London.

The extra flights will put more pressure on car hire availability in each of the destinations but great value car hire is available for pre-booking, and for families, Rhino Car Hire offer optional extras to make travelling by hire car safer and more comfortable for the little ones; just ask when booking.


GERMANY ORDERS AIRLINES
TO PAY FOR ETS NON-COMPLIANCE

Dave Keating - European Voice - 1 May 2014

Campaigners have accused Germany, France and the UK of delaying fines on airlines that did not comply with emissions trading rules in order not to anger foreign powers.

Germany levied fines against 61 airlines yesterday (30 April) for not paying for their CO2 emissions through the European Union's emissions trading scheme (ETS) in 2012.

It is the first time fines have been levied against an airline since aviation became subject to EU emissions trading rules on 1 January 2012. The airlines reportedly include Russian, Chinese and American operators. But the German government has not named them.

The EU this year adopted changes to its ETS legislation that effectively exempt foreign airlines from having to pay for their emissions - codifying a policy that has been in place since November 2012. Foreign powers objected to the charges on sovereignty grounds, and threatened retaliatory measures.

However the foreign airlines are still liable for their emissions which took place during the first ten months of 2012, and no foreign airlines had yet complied.

Environmental campaigners, who are furious that the EU backed down on its legislation in the face of foreign pressure, have accused Germany, France and the UK of trying to 'run out the clock' on the penalties for this period. The national governments are responsible for fining non-compliant airlines, but the time period for levying those sanctions will expire this summer. France and the UK have still not handed out fines.

Companies subject to the ETS must turn in 'allowances' corresponding to the amount of carbon they have emitted. They receive a certain number of these allowances for free, and must purchase any extra from the market. Companies that fail to turn in the required amount of allowances face fines of ?100 per metric tonne of carbon.


Stansted traffic count rises. And, the noise?

STANSTED AIRPORT TRAFFIC RESULTS FOR APRIL 2014

Stanstedairportnews Online - 12 May 2014

Stansted Airport has once again broken through the 18 million passengers a year mark following a 3.4% annual increase in passenger numbers in the 12 months to April 2014. It's the first time Stansted has topped 18 million passengers since December 2011.

The airport also enjoyed its busiest April since 2008 as over 1.72 million passengers passed through the terminal, up 10.7% over April last year. The increase was due to the later Easter holidays this year and the start of the airlines summer flight schedules with a significant number of new routes launching from the airport during the period.

Andrew Harrison, Stansted's Managing Director, said: "To see Stansted experience its busiest April for six years and to once again break through the 18 million passengers a year barrier is a key milestone in our growth plans for the airport, which are already providing people with more choice of destinations and increased flight frequency."

"We enjoyed a very busy Easter and start to the summer season as our airline partners launched even more new services across Europe and encouraged more passengers to make Stansted their airport of choice. We are also continuing our work to develop long-haul services from Stansted, and were delighted by the recent announcement that Thomas Cook is to launch new services to the USA and Mexico next summer."

"The level of growth we're seeing is encouraging and strongly believe Stansted has a vital role over the next 10-15 years in supporting economic growth and activity. This is an important year for our industry as we await the Government's response to the Airport Commission's recommendations on how to make the best use of existing capacity before any new runway can be built. If priority is given to improvements to rail links from London to Stansted to provide faster connections we could serve more of the London market, and provide benefits to a much wider group of passengers."


STOP STANSTED EXPANSION MOURNS THE DEATH
OF LEADING CAMPAIGNER CHRIS BENNETT

Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 30 April 2014

MEMBERS of Stop Stansted Expansion are mourning the loss of a leading member of the campaign team. Chris Bennett died after a short illness on Easter Sunday (April 20).

A spokesman for the protest group said: "He was SSE's first expert on noise until he left the area in 2007. He made an outstanding contribution to SSE's response to the Government's first consultation paper in 2002/03."

"The powerful critique that he built up of the Government's inadequate method of measuring the onset of significant community noise annoyance and the standards it applied, though rejected by the Government at the time, has proved over the years to be well grounded, so much so that change now seems to be inevitable."

"Chris went on to build up SSE's case against BAA's proposals in the Stansted G1 Public Inquiry in 2007, and his appearance before the planning inspector helped to establish SSE's reputation for reasonableness, clear thinking and high level analysis."

"We also benefited from his wisdom and expertise as a member of SSE's executive committee. We always knew that whatever he said would have been carefully considered and based upon sound evidence. More than that, Chris was unfailingly courteous, responding readily to every request for help and advice, and he had a delightfully sharp sense of humour. It was a source of great pleasure and satisfaction to him that Stansted was not shortlisted for the extra runway in the south east which the Airports Commission believes will be necessary by 2030."

"Our sympathies go to all his family, but above all to his partner, Joan, who was a great support to him throughout his work for SSE and over the years."


AIRPORTS COMMISSION PUBLISHES ASSESSMENT
FRAMEWORK FOR CONSIDERING NEW RUNWAY SITES

Press Statement - Aviation Environmemt Federation - 4 April 2014

The Airports Commission has published its final assessment framework for the three options shortlisted for the building of a new runway, and to guide consideration of a Thames Estuary option pending a decision later this year on whether it should be included.

AEF maintains that new airport capacity is unlikely to be compatible with environmental objectives, and that the maximum growth in flying possible under a carbon cap can be accommodated within existing infrastructure.

Our response to the draft framework therefore highlighted ways in which the assessment criteria should be used to rigorously test the Commission's view that a runway can be built without unacceptable environmental impacts.


WESTMINSTER WATCH: SURFACE TO AIR MISSIVES

Gareth Morgan - BuyingBusinessTravel Online - 23 April 2014

BBT columnist and political lobbyist Gareth Morgan looks at the fallout from the Airports Commission's shortlist for expansion

So, there we have it. We know the shortlist of airport options that Sir Howard Davies' Airports Commission will consider. It should be pretty simple now - Davies and his team will look into these in more depth, make their final recommendation and then the airport capacity issue is put to bed. Or not. In fact, the lobbying around the decision has stepped up a gear, and it is interesting to run through the various camps at play.

First, we have the shortlisters - those who now have everything to play for. Gatwick and Heathrow have well-oiled machines already in play and full activity plans lined up - to the extent that one executive recently indicated to me there is a "mini-industry" at work at his airport. The left-field option is proposed by Heathrow Hub, to extend the northern runway - up to now an option that didn't actually have the support of Heathrow Ltd itself.

Then there's the half-in, half-out contender. London mayor Boris Johnson used his sway to ensure that the Thames Estuary airport isn't completely dead in the water. Rather, it was partially resuscitated for another six months and given a second chance to put forward the data supporting the concept. Johnson's aviation adviser, Daniel Moylan, is doing the lobbying spade-work by touring Conservative constituency parties in London making the case.

The main message from those who missed out on the final cut is that they aren't giving up. Airports like Stansted continue to press to be considered in the post-2030 phase through engaging with pro-business MPs. Meanwhile, Birmingham airport has orchestrated a campaign among West Midlands MPs calling for their airport to be allowed to add a second runway of their own before 2050.

The nimbys - the 2M Group, consisting of 20 councils opposed to Heathrow expansion, and the anti-Heathrow community organisation HACAN - continue to stridently oppose expansion and use all their local links to ensure a steady stream of opposition coming from MPs in the area, to the extent that it is very hard for a political party to win in areas, such as Richmond, without being overtly 'anti'.

The just-make-a-decision camp - mostly emanating from business organisations, such as London First - is promoting campaigns such as 'Let Britain Fly' that are looking for commitments from all political parties to accept and implement the findings of Davies' work. For them, regardless of the option selected, success is seeing any decision at all, and they have a team of in-house lobbyists seeking to ensure this issue isn't parked for another decade.

Finally, there remains a committed group of individuals and organisations who want the new hub (Heathrow) to connect into HS2. This is ostensibly about better-integrated transport, but many of its supporters are driven by the fact that such a route would mean areas like the Chilterns are spared the HS2 upheaval as is currently planned. Well-financed and well-connected, they are a force within the Conservative ranks and will make their move as the HS2 bill makes its way through parliament this spring.

For a process that was designed to take the politics out of the decision, we can actually see one that is crawling with agendas, lobbyists, MPs, councils, mayors and advisors, all throwing considerable resource at making sure their own plans come to fruition.


GOVERNMENT PUBLISHES NEW GUIDELINES
FOR AIRPORT CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEES

Press Statement - Aviation Environment Federation - 17 April 2014

The Department for Transport has published a new set of guidelines for airport consultative committees which replace the previous guidelines introduced in 2003. We provided a detailed response to the DfT's draft guidelines and we appreciate that some of our suggestions were taken on board. Particularly, we are pleased that a section on consultative committees dealing with complaints was re-introduced to the new guidelines. DfT commented that there was no appetite for removing statutory requirements for airports to consult but neither did they suggest that the designated list be extended to all airports and airfields.

The guidelines did not take up our recommendation to introduce a form of dispute resolution forum to give community groups and individuals some right of appeal should they find they are unfairly excluded from a consultative committee. The new guidance says that disputes should be handled by the committee in the first instance, and that "in the majority of instances a solution should be found at the local level". However, it does also say that for designated airports, it is ultimately in their best interests that committees are functioning effectively, suggesting that they should be proactive in trying to resolve disputes. This is an improvement that puts the onus on airport operators to be constructive.

Our comments on the draft guidelines are relevant to the new guidance. Below are several key changes:

1) Principles
We supported the inclusion of principles for airport consultative committees that can be applied to all committees regardless of the size of the airfield or airport. Their continued inclusion means that there is no truth to claims of some airports that they are too small for the guidelines to apply.

The new guidelines did make an addition from the draft version based on one of our recommendations and added 'effective' to the constructive principle meaning that airport operators should approach consultative committees with a genuine willingness "to be influenced by the discussions and opinions of the committee in order to make the process of consultation meaningful." The guidance also says that airports are expected to take the committee's views into account in decisions. We welcome this addition as it reminds airports of the purpose of consultative committees.

The new guidance also asks airports to be clear about when a decision has already taken place that the committee cannot influence, and for committee secretariat to be clear when presenting views of the committee if a significant minority opinion exists. We recommended both.

2) Code of conduct
We supported this proposal based on the experiences that had been passed on to us where personalities had prevented effective and constructive discussion. Our response to the draft guidance recommended that the code of conduct should explicitly also apply to airport operators, committee chair and secretary. The new guidance has included this suggestion.

3) Complaints
In our response to the draft guidelines, we highlighted that consultative committees should include monitoring complaints in their remit to ensure some accountability of airports to local stakeholders. The new guidance has included this recommendation.


NEW EU AIRPORT NOISE RULES ENFURIATES BELGIAN GREENS

Euractive Online - 17 April 2014

New European Union rules aimed at regulating airport noise could have far-reaching political consequences for Belgium's general elections, in May.

The Belgian Greens said the new EU rules were a "blow for all those living near airports" after the EU noise regulation was approved in the European Parliament's plenary sitting in Strasbourg Wednesday (16 April). Proponents, on the other hand, hailed a "balanced approach" in the regulation establishing rules and procedures for the introduction of noise-related operating restrictions at European airports, in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) guidelines.

The European Commission, which tabled the proposal in December 2011, sought to balance the protection of citizens living near airports with the freedom to travel, and economic development. The EU executive proposed making it compulsory to involve local authorities and "other stakeholders" when putting in place noise reduction measures, aiming to introduce more transparency in the decision-making process. But opponents say that by including "other stakeholders", business will be unfairly favoured.

"The European Commission does not have the right to block anything," explained Jörg Leichtfried, the Austrian socialist lawmaker who steered the text through Parliament. Although the EU executive will be able to notify airports that do not consult with stakeholders as required, the final say would still lie with national and local authorities, Leichtfried said.

For the Greens, the "balanced approach" is "anything but balanced", and "aims to ensure the economic interests of airports and airlines win out over the interests of those confronted with the noise nuisance, pollution, health problems and safety risks posed by airports". "Under the rules endorsed today, it will soon become very difficult to impose new flight restrictions aimed at limiting noise nuisance at airports," said Eva Lichtenberger, the group's transport spokesperson.

The Greens/European Free Alliance reacted by saying: "Instead of seeking to ensure stronger EU rules, with a view to helping to reduce the nuisance, pollution, health problems and safety risks posed by airports, this legislative review is aimed at boosting capacities at European airports. The EU Commission gave in to heavy lobbying from the air transport industry and MEPs have now cleared these wrongheaded plans for take-off. This is a blow for all those living near airports and others who are confronted with the myriad of problems from the ever-increasing number of flights to and from our airports."

The Airports Council International and the Association of European Airlines issued a joint statement welcoming the vote: "Today's result at the European Parliament is welcome news. Thanks to the strengthened application of ICAO's 'balanced approach' at the initiative of the European Commission, the assessment of operating restrictions will now become more transparent and robust. Once in place, this new Regulation should not only open up better lines of communication between the EU and national authorities dealing with this issue, it will also help reinforce dialogue between all the different stakeholders involved."

OUR COMMENT: Regulation for all airports has been long overdue. It remains to be seen whether these measures are adequate.

Pat Dale


AUDITORY AND NON-AUDITORY EFFECTS OF NOISE ON HEALTH

Review in The Lancet - 12 April 2014

Summary

Noise is persuasive in everyday life and can cause both auditory and non-auditory health effects. Noise-induced hearing loss remains highly prevalent in occupational settings, and increasingly caused by social noise exposure (e.g. through personal music players).

Our understanding of molecular mechanisms involved in noise induced hair-cell and nerve damage has substantially increased, and therapeutic drugs will probably become available within 10 years. Evidence of the non-auditory effects of environmental noise on public health is growing.

Observational and environmental studies have shown that noise exposure leads to annoyance, disturbs sleep and causes day-time sleepiness, affects patient outcomes and staff performances in hospitals, increases the occurrence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, and impairs cognitive performance in school children.

In this Review we stress the importance of adequate noise prevention and noise mitigation strategies for public health.


EU AGREES AIRLINE CARBON CHARGE

Vanessa Monk - Stream.wsj Online - 8 April 2014

Only EU Carriers Operating In And Out Of Europe Will Have to Pay Charge

European Union lawmakers voted to impose a carbon charge on only EU carriers operating in and out of Europe rather than backing a broader scheme that would have targeted non-EU airlines as well. Bowing to threats of an international trade war, European Union lawmakers voted to impose a carbon charge on only EU carriers operating in and out of Europe rather than backing a far broader scheme that would have targeted non-EU airlines as well.

The outcome of the closely watched vote is a victory for international, long-haul carriers, worried that the parliament would back a broader carbon scheme for the airline sector.

The vote means that European airlines operating in EU airspace will have to pay for CO2 by buying credits through the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), leaving long-haul carriers off the hook.

Lawmakers approved the plan by 458 votes to 120 with 24 abstentions. In the run-up to the ballot, some members of the parliament had called to reinstate an earlier, far more ambitious plan by the European Commission that would have included all airlines flying in and out of EU airspace into its carbon emissions scheme. The EU executive had argued that only in this way would the airline sector become accountable for its environmental damage. But that proposal was subsequently rejected by EU governments, many of which argued that it could unleash retaliatory measures from countries such as the U.S. and China.

The U.K., France and Germany exerted the greatest pressure, amid fears that aircraft maker Airbus Group NV - which is based in those countries - would lose a large Chinese order of aircraft. Beijing had put the order on hold in anger over the EU's emissions plans.

Chris Davis, a British member of the parliament, said that threat has been part of the campaign of "scaremongering", pointing out that China agreed to the $10 billion order late last month. "All the airbus countries have been doing lots of lobbying. Airbus has a 20-year order book. I bitterly resent that we can't take action against global warming," said Chris Davis, a British member of parliament.

The EU's climate change commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, said the vote was "better than no result", but said the pressure was now "on the rest of the world to move forward."

The EU said it would revert to its original broader carbon emissions plan, which would include all flights operating within EU airspace, in 2017 if the U.N.'s airline body, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) fails to come up with a global plan in time for its general assembly in September 2016.

But green groups have cast doubt of the ability of ICAO to deliver, saying it has dragged its heels over the issue for years. "I am not holding my breath," said Aoife O'Leary of Transport & Environment. "Drawing up a global deal will be immensely difficult, the will isn't really there."

If global aviation emissions were classed as a country, it would be ranked seventh in the world between Korea and Germany, according to Transport & Environment.


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